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Marc Schwingen

Final Draft
Obesity, is it Genetic?
Obesity has been labeled an epidemic in society, taking over peoples lives and causing
them great harm. Understanding and educating people about obesity is the best way to help
prevent it in the future. There are many false accusations that are associated with this industry, so
getting the right information is crucial to see improvement in society. As our obesity rates
double, many have speculated that its main cause is related to poor nutrition and lack of exercise
but new research has shown that there are genetic factors that contribute to this epidemic. New
studies suggest that there are multiple genes that influence the expression of obesity. This essay
will induce the matter that obesity is genetically inheritable and discuss the relevance in todays
society. Educating is the best tool at the moment to manage and effectively decrease the obesity
rates in the United States.


According to Trust for Americas Health, each state in the United States has a current
population that consists of at least twenty percent of its people labeled as obese. That number is
only increasing as times goes on and will continue to get worse. Some states are as high as thirty
five percent, meaning one out of every three people is considered obese. Obesity can be
described as a person containing an overabundance of body fat which can cause a number of
health issues. Your body mass index or BMI is a number based on your weight in kilograms
divided by your height in meters squared. After finding that number, you are then classified
within a chart based on your age and sex to narrow down the range that determines your
description based on your BMI. Obesity can increase the chances of stroke, high blood pressure,
and even arthritis. All of which take special medications that cost the United States alone billions
of dollars. Although the pharmacy industries profit from this, it is not a sustainable way to live
and costs the United States 147 billion dollars according to the CDC. Most people understand
obesity to be derived from poor eating habits and lack of exercise but discard a possibility that
genetic factors can influence your fat composition. I suggest that obesity is caused from not only
poor health habits but also genetic factors that contribute to determine whether someone has a
greater potential to be obese.

Main Body:
Understanding Obesity
(Marc Perry, 2010) describes a similar process of labeling by determining exactly the
percentage of body fat that someone contains. In this process there is again a chart that consists
of age, sex, and descriptions of body fat percentage. It begins with the lowest percentage being
classified as having essential fat, then being in the athletic range, then fitness, after that is the
average range, and the last one is obese. These descriptions start at containing 2-5% body fat for
men all the way up to 25+% which is classified as obese. Women naturally carry more bod fat so
their scale is slightly different. Now that there is a universal definition of obesity with certain
perimeters and descriptions, one can see that there is a problem with society having such a large
obese population. Marc Perry is a CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) with
years of experience dealing with overweight clients. He is also the creator of a company called
BuiltLean Transformation and has appeared in many mens health magazines. With these types
of credentials Marc Perry solidifies his knowledge with the help of having his blogs and articles
medically peer reviewed. Perry gives a better understanding of how obesity is classified which
then can relate to how it occurs, understanding obesity is part of the problem as well.
The greatest increase in obesity thus far has been in the children, but in the adults alone
we have seen an increase of two fold from thirty five years ago. According to the Trust for
Americas Health we have raised the average weight of an American adult by twenty four
pounds. More than two thirds of the entire population of the United States is either classified as
overweight or obese, both of which have health effects that cost unnecessary money. According
to the CDC an obese individual is expected to have an average of $1,429 more spent on an

annual basis than someone that is not obese. This number takes in account of only medical
expenses not to mention other expenses such as larger quantities of food and decreases in
workplace efficiency. Understanding obesity and how it operates should give us insight on how
to decrease the percentage of people that are stricken with this epidemic. To understand how you
can prevent obesity by proper nutrition and exercise is the beginning and most rudimentary way
of fixing it.
Some Causes of Obesity
There are many diets that exist, many of them exist solely for profits only. Although
everyones body is different and will respond to different eating habits it is clear that our diet has
changed over the last hundred years. In many fields of research people want to put blame on one
specific item such as sugar or carbohydrates in general but this is definitively not the case. The
cause for increased obesity rates isnt because of one food group alone, it is a compilation of
many problems that exist within our society today. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
states that weight gain is associated with more energy coming in than coming out. Meaning an
inactive lifestyle can contribute to weight gain. If you are eating more calories throughout the
day than you are using by being physically active, including things such as breathing and bodily
functions that are necessary for survival. In more recent times people have consumed much of
their caloric intake from drinks as well such as soda, all contributing to a society that is
overweight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute also claim that people spend on
average over two hours of watching some form of television, which comes back to not burning
more calories than you are taking in. They also argue that our current environment promotes
obesity instead of being healthy. The way that most people work all day with little physical
activity all the way to lack of sidewalks for people to use. One of the largest causes is simple but

yet undermined. The food portions in the US is on a different scale, going to restaurants, fast
food, and even home cooking people are expected to food prepared in a way that hasnt been
made in our entire evolutionary history. People are not meant to consume that amount of food in
one day, let alone in one sitting. Part of the problem is also the way food is presented in
advertising, we expect large cheap meals readily available. Finding the proper diet for yourself
can be challenging because of all the false information out there. If you wanted to be sure of
yourself, you will have to ensure that you are burning enough calories for weight loss or taking
in the right amount of calories for maintenance. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is
a reliable source that is publicly funded as well funded by the government. Typically this
department has the final word on whether information is supported or not. Now knowing the
causes of obesity from an environmental stand point, raises the question if obesity can be
inherited through genetic factors.
Truth of Obesity
(Comuzzie, 1998) claims that 40 to 70 percent of the genes associated with obesity are
inheritable. This study also supports the idea that genes influence the outcome of obesity and
specifically discusses the methods that are being used to discover these genes mutations. The
Search for Human Obesity Genes was published in the journal Science, which is a well
renowned giving this article and author high credentials on the topic. In this study Comuzzie
wanted to signify the importance that obesity mostly occurs because of a combination of multiple
genes and not just one. This subject is of great importance to discovering whether or not obesity
is genetic because it not only proves that one gene is responsible but that there are many genes
that can be inherited at a high rate.

Many assume that obesity only occurs from poor eating habits and exercise but there are
now studies that show genetic factors can contribute to obesity. They say contribute because it is
not indefinite, a person is not bound by the gene to be obese. If an obese individual wanted to
lose weight, it is more than possible but there might be more problems associated with weight
loss that a person without these genes wouldnt have to deal with. According to the journal article
Genetics of Obesity and the Prediction of Risk for Health there are many genes that contribute
to obesity with varying results. Some genes will alter protein synthesis while others play a part in
glycogen. This article was published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, which gives this
article credentials. Analyzing this article can be difficult without a science and genetics
Harvard School of Public Health published an article (Genes are not destiny, 2012) with
the aim to educate the public on how obesity is caused and to show how to prevent it. Although
Harvard did not take part in an actual study for obesity, they used a compilation of sources and
studies to present their evidence. Presenting the idea that there are different forms of mutations in
genes that cause obesity is their main topic. Although the article was mainly concerned with
genetic factors, it also stated that your food and activity are a large contribution to your
appearance. Ultimately their article concluded that healthy environments and lifestyles can help
prevent obesity.
(Helen,2005) stated obesity is an epidemic related to dietary and behavioral trends that
lay on top of a persons genetic makeup. Helens main topic discussed the trend of decreased
physical activity and increased food intake to our growing obesity percentage. She also wanted
to show the importance that although there have been many studies concluding obesity to
specific genes, there is a need in science to replicate experiments to prove the results. Her article

Genetics of Common Forms of Obesity: a brief overview was published in The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition and is still very relevant today. Overall her article supported the
claim that obesity is caused by genetic and environmental factors.
As science advances so will the understanding of obesity. In the future, there is hope to
decrease the percentage of obesity with educating. Educating people what they consume and how
they exercise can drastically alter the obesity levels in America. Understanding that it is not just
an environmental problem but also a genetic one will only further educate people on their body.
The relevance of environmental, behavior, and genetic factors all play a part in obesity but the
discussion of genetics and obesity is largely concealed. All of these studies suggest that genetic
factors play a part in obesity, supporting my hypothesis that obesity can be caused by genetic
factors. Being aware that you can pass these traits on is valuable information, it will lead to a
more informed society with the intentions of irradiating this epidemic, obesity.

"Adult Obesity in the United States." : The State of Obesity. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

"Body Fat Charts." Body Fat Charts. Accu Fitness, LLC, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Perry, Marc. "Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart: How Lean Should You Be?" BuiltLean. N.p., 03
Aug. 2010. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Holden, Diana. "Fact Check: The Cost of Obesity." CNN. Cable News Network, 09 Feb. 2010.
Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

"Adult Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, 21 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

"What Causes Overweight and Obesity?" - NHLBI, NIH. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.

Walley, A. J. "Genetics of Obesity and the Prediction of Risk for Health." Human Molecular
Genetics 15.Review Issue 2 (2006): n. pag. Web

Genes Are Not Destiny. (2012). Retrieved March 18, 2016, from

Lyon, Helen N. "Genetics of Common Forms of Obesity: A Brief Overview." The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005)

Comuzzie, A. G. "The Search for Human Obesity Genes." Science 280.5368 (1998): 1374-377.